Aged care provider Ryman Healthcare has switched to a Revera Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) system for its production IT needs as well as disaster recovery. Last month the company completed the final stages of data rationalisation at Revera’s Christchurch Homeland datacentre, located in the Addington Business Park. The move that has effectively remodelled Ryman’s national IT as on-demand services, according to a media statement.
A central feature of the contract is Revera’s disaster recovery service, Silver-lining DR – a hybrid cloud allowing Ryman to activate nominated servers and applications at another Revera Homeland datacentre.
Ryman chief financial officer Gordon MacLeod said the February 2011 earthquake effectively destroyed the company’s Christchurch office and computer room, based in Clarendon Tower, giving impetus to rethink the company's IT and DR options.
“Once we’d selected Revera’s Christchurch datacentre for primary production we opted for a North Island DR site and replicate our production systems at Revera’s Hamilton datacentre. So, if in the unlikely event a local disaster disables Revera Christchurch, the communications link switches to our Hamilton production node,” MacLeod said.
In Ryman’s case, Revera’s Silver-lining DR service is geared to a 15-minute recovery point objective, which secures Ryman’s production systems data to within 15-minutes of the failure event.
Cisco MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) data packet forwarding technology synchronises Revera’s five Homeland datacentres, providing the smarts to instantly stretch customer VLANs to any datacentre in the Homeland Network. Client-nominated production servers are replicated at a nominated Revera datacentre, where duplicate servers are enlivened with production data and configuration that satisfies recovery point objectives.
MacLeod said Ryman offsite backup tapes activated on an Auckland-based Plan-b server platform ensured Ryman wasn’t significantly disrupted when the February 2011 earthquake struck.
“However, post earthquake we faced the choice between building our own IT infrastructure, or paying someone to deliver it as a service. Our size and scale demanded best-of-breed IT infrastructure,” MacLeod said. “We’d been talking to Revera for a number of years and late 2011 chose them as our IaaS partner. We crunched the numbers and the Revera option was cheaper than in-house alternatives. But it really comes down to how you want to run your IT, rather than cost. The earthquake was an opportunity to clean the slate. We either reverted to the way we did things or went for something totally different.”
MacLeod said a requirement of the transition from Plan-b to Revera’s Homeland IaaS platform was continued operation of Ryman’s national IT network, which at the time supported 24 retirement villages and eight construction sites.
“Plan-b did a great job for us and the platform we had at the time,” MacLeod said.
Transition, involving a range of Microsoft and specialist business applications, server environments, approximately two terabytes of storage, and production and DR staging, was completed in three-to-four weeks.
MacLeod said the move freed the company to put more focus on applications. “The longer I’m involved with IT, and particularly hardware and infrastructure, the harder it is to remain up to date. It’s best handled by a specialist provider, like Revera, so you discuss speeds and applications rather than physical characteristics of delivery. At short notice we can dial up resources, without having to authorise additional capital expenditure and manage commissioning and integration. It’s a big gain and certainly saves a lot of hassle.”
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